Charles T. Sprading once said, “Knowledge consists in understanding the evidence that establishes the fact, not in the belief that it is a fact.”
- Skin and nail fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus
- Feeling tired and worn down, or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and brain fog
- Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
- Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching
- Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
These and some more make up to 40 different symptoms of the so called “Candida Overgrowth”
Candida Overgrowhaaaaaaat? Source: Creativecommons
Put yourself in the skin of a patient suffering from one or several of the symptoms mentioned above. Probably, you don’t feel satisfied with the solutions provided by your doctor and you therefore search for an alternative treatment. The next step is the visit to a “specialist” who may be a natural, holistic or integrative doctor. Even worse, the diagnosis may be made by an osteopath, physiotherapist, your yoga teacher or even an homeopathic doctor. Then comes the treatment: oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract, colon cleansing and a zero carb diet. You suffer from the “Herx” reaction and, in the best case, you start to feel better. Well, you think candidiasis was a real thing and you got cured. Congratulations, the fact is that you improved your health condition, which was you objective. Wasn’t it?
It’s not as easy as it seems. In several alternative health websites we’re being told that almost 90% of citizens of US have candida overgrowth. In case that was not enough, some even claim that Candida causes cancer. If all that was true, we would be facing a tragic epidemic.
The truth is that systemic candidiasis is usually found in immunosuppressed patients (HIV, Cancer and autoimmune diseases treated with immunosuppressants) but there are very few cases of “normal” patients with a gastrointestinal Candida albicans infection. Although one study found that Candida caused delayed healing and bowel ulcers in mice, following studies failed to back up that claim. Oral and vaginal candidiasis are two well known and easily treatable (with probiotics and antifungals) conditions, but the fact that Candida can cause an intestinal infection in an average patient is more than doubtful.
A study found an increase in Candida albicans in the bowel flora of IBD patients, which is an interesting finding, however it doesn’t mean more than that these patients just have a dysregulation of their flora, which is well known and absolutely accepted. Does an increase in Candida in IBD patients mean that Candida causes IBD? Not at all. 100% of people who drink water die, does that mean water causes death?
100% of people exposed to water will die. What about Candida? Source: Creativecommons
Some people will want us to explain why do patients suffer from so many different symptoms. Well, the fact is that there are many multi-symptomatic conditions such as thyroid disorders and fibromyalgia. Even insulin resistance can cause similar symptoms as those reported in Candidiasis. Why, then, do some people improve on a Candidiasis treatment?
-A low/zero carbohydrate diet improves all kind of gastrointestinal diseases, neurological symptoms and regulates blood sugar. The “Herx effect” is usually the result of keto-adaptation and not a Candida die-off as some sites say.
-The supplements used in the holistic Candida treatment are usually very potent natural antibiotics that can modify the intestinal flora. Therefore, some patients may have a pathogen and are feeling the benefits of killing it.
-Some (very few) patients may have a real Candida infection, in which case a ketogenic diet is not the best option as Candida can use ketones as fuel. In this case a very low carb diet (up to 100g per day) and antifungals would be the best option.
In summary, Candida infections may appear in immunosuppressed patients causing life threatening situations. Oral and vaginal candidiasis sometimes appears after long term antibiotherapy and is treated with probiotics and antifungals (if needed).
The condition “Candida overgrowth” that refers to a supposed intestinal infection is not supported by science and therefore cannot be treated nor recommended by our team. It’s very common to end up with this diagnosis after a visit to a holistic practitioner. In our opinion, with the current available evidence, we must have a conservative approach to this diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, please consider a second opinion just to ensure you’re not being fooled with a fake illness.
Highly scientific. Please, spend your time doing something more productive than this.
Remember, marketing is based on creating a demand for a product or service. This has risen to the point of inventing problems that do not exist just to sell a product that addresses the problem. Those who practice medicine outside the scientific limits shouldn’t be allowed to invent imaginary diseases in order to make money.